I should tell him I’m not interested. But I can’t form the damn words.
“Okay.” He nods and smiles. “I’ll pick Seth up at two.”
“You didn’t have to bring him here,” I mutter.
“Yeah, I did. I’ll see you later, sweetheart.”
I follow Josh out of the room and into the living space. He leaves without another word.
Seth is watching me as if I might die of the plague any moment. “Are you really sick?”
“I’m feeling better.” I shrug and offer him a small smile, and he returns it, a bright, sweet young-boy smile. “Let’s get started on fractions.”
“I hate fractions.”
“I’m with you, kid.”
* * *
“So, he didn’t call you at all over the weekend?” Jill asks over the phone. I press it between my ear and shoulder as I pull the bag of popcorn apart to empty it into a bowl. The screen on my back door is suddenly slammed, hard, and I hurry over to secure it.
“Storm’s coming in.” I love summer storms. They move in fast and hard, blowing wind and spitting rain, and then they move out just as fast. “The wind is nuts right now.” I eye the tree in the backyard and remind myself for the hundredth time to call Mr. Eckles to come over and trim it.
“Is there thunder?” Jill asks, making me laugh. She’s so in-your-face most of the time, but a total wimp when it comes to storms.
“Yes, and lightning.”
“Ugh, I’m glad I’m not there. Now, focus. You didn’t hear from Josh over the weekend?”
“Nope. It’s been a week since he showed up here the day I called in sick. He didn’t lie before. He hasn’t touched me in front of Seth, but when Seth isn’t around, he definitely does.”
“Touches you how?” She’s chewing on something crunchy.
“You know, brushes against me when he walks past, tucks my hair behind my ear, that kind of stuff. Like yesterday—” I stop short.
“If you stop now, I swear to God, I’ll shoot you the next time I see you.”
“You don’t know how to fire a gun.”
“I’ll learn. Keep talking.”
“Well, yesterday, I was leaning over Seth’s shoulder to read the worksheet he was working on, and Josh moved up behind me and rubbed his hand up and down my back, and when I looked up at him, he winked at me.”
“But no more kissing?”
“Boring.” Jill sighs.
I laugh. “I’m so sorry that I’m not more entertaining.”
“Hey, you’re getting more action than I am these days.” She takes another bite of the crunchy. “So maybe you should just kiss him.”
“Maybe he came to his senses and realized that a sexual relationship is a bad idea.”
“Maybe pigs will fly out of my ass.” I can practically hear her roll her eyes.
“I’ve always hated that expression.” I frown and stuff a handful of popcorn in my mouth.
“I think he’s being a nice guy. Getting to know you. Letting you get used to him, and all that boring shit.”
“Probably. Did you watch Dancing with the Stars last night?” I ask, changing the subject.
“Of course. I’m so glad they brought Max back this season. That man melts my panties off.”
Suddenly call waiting is beeping in my ear. When I pull the phone away, it’s Josh’s name on the caller ID.
“Jill, I’ll call you later. Josh is on the other line.”
“I want all the details!”
“Good-bye, Jilly.” I chuckle as I switch over. “Hello?”
“Hey.” His low voice sends shivers through me and I immediately set my popcorn aside while wiping my hands on my jeans.
“Hey, what’s up?” My voice sounds a bit too high even to my own ears and I wince.
“What are you doing?”
“I was chatting with Jill.”
“Do you want me to let you go?” I hear him shifting in the background and I wonder if he’s lying down.
“No, I hung up with her. Are you okay?”
“I’m fine, I was just thinking about you.” I pull the phone away from my ear and frown down at it. This is the first time he’s called me just to chat.
“What were you thinking?” I ask, genuinely curious.
“That I wish you were here with me. Is it weird that I miss you and I just saw you four hours ago?”
No, it’s not weird because I feel exactly the same way! “I always knew you were weird,” I respond playfully, and am rewarded with his deep chuckle. My panties dampen as I picture that sexy dimple in his cheek, but then I grow quiet.
“Okay, you’re quiet. What are you thinking?”
“Well, it’s weird. You miss me, but I haven’t heard from you much the last few days.”
He sighs deeply. “I had a few foals born over the weekend. One didn’t make it. A portion of the fence line on the far side of the ranch went down, I have no idea how, and a few head of cattle got out. Had to round them up. It was a shitty weekend.”
“I’m sorry about the foal,” I murmur, and close my eyes.
“It happens. Seth took it hard.”
“He didn’t mention anything about it today.” I pop a kernel of popcorn in my mouth and munch thoughtfully. “What are you up to? Before you called me, that is.”
“I was reading, gonna call it a night. Wanted to hear your voice.” The last sentence is whispered and I’ve never been more tempted to jump in my car and race over to a man’s place.
“It’s kind of early to go to bed.” I glance at the clock and am surprised to see it’s only eight thirty.
“I have to get up at five to feed the horses and meet with my guys before the day gets started.”
I settle in deeper against the cushions of my couch, enjoying the deep timbre of his voice. “That’s right, you’re a morning person.”
“It’s habit now,” he agrees with a chuckle. “Are you a night person?”
“Depends on my mood, I guess.” The back screen door slams against the house again and I walk through the house to secure it. “It’s windy tonight.”
“Are you okay?” I hear the concern in his voice and I grin.
“Yeah, the screen door keeps coming unlatched from the wind.”
“Do you need me to come in to town to help you out?”